Soccer….Family Style


Day Off in Pipa
June 18, 2014, 3:43 pm
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We had a day off of travel in Pipa after the US match, and decided to spend the day hanging out with friends. We slept in then walked into town for lunch, having already missed breakfast at our apartment. After sandwiches and coffee, we milled around as Doug and the kids went off in search of an ATM that worked and I wrote. We took a swim in the ocean before rejoining the gang at Tribus Cafe for Brazil vs Mexico.

The game ended in a frustrating tie, after so many scoring chances without result, but the crowd was anything but impartial. People were packed into every conceivable corner, standing or sitting on the floor to squish in. We drank Bohemia pilsners and enjoyed the atmosphere created by singing and cheering Brazilian fans combined with people jamming the streets outside, lighting off fireworks either in celebration or frustration. Brazilians are said to have the attitude that “everything will work out.” They certainly seemed calm after leaving what Americans considered important points on the table. It’s refreshing, after the incessant hand wringing of American soccer fans. Up next: Manaus!



Ghana – The Third Time’s the Charm – The End of Suffering for US Soccer vs Ghana
June 17, 2014, 3:03 pm
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world cup fever

We beat Ghana, my son’s goal celebration went worldwide.

Last night was the perfect end to an eight year suffering. Leading up to this game, I was remembering getting eliminated by Ghana in Germany and South Africa. In Germany, I remember our daughter happily dancing around Kaela, Monty, and the rest of my soccer family as we bitterly drank our beers at a biergarten overlooking a river in Nuremburg. I was so disappointed in South Africa, knowing that we could have gone so much further in the tournament if not for a few errors in coaching the Ghana game. Now we have the coach I want, the team I want, and yes, the group I want.

We got to the stadium and found our place in the stands, so happy to have my family and our best travel buddies with us. When we scored in the first minute, I looked at Doug and screamed “this is going to be the longest 89 minutes of my life” making reference to what he screamed to me in the US vs Portugal game in 2002. No one can say it was a beautiful game, but last night, my children became real soccer fans. They no longer distract themselves for 90 minutes. Aviva was glued to the action, screaming at the referee, directing the players, and around the 75th minute grabbing me, screamed, “This is SO intense!” Raphael is only six, and he was exhausted from traveling, but he perked up when Ghana scored, and was engaged enough by the time the US went up again he is now “that kid in the goal celebration being broadcast non-stop and world-wide.”

It was deeply emotional for many of us who’ve suffered though getting sent home by Ghana twice in a row. The vindication was palpable and to share it immediately with so many of our lifelong soccer friends was amazing. But even better was having my children with me. I talked to Doug on the way home about comparing last night’s match to the US vs Portugal game in 2002. It may not have been a “shock the world” win, but watching my children fall more deeply in love with the World Cup will make this game rank pretty high in my list of best games ever. They’ve enjoyed going to games in the States, but last night, they got to experience the World Cup in person for the first time as players. I will never forget watching their transition to ultra fans.

UPDATE: I had no idea what was happening back in the States as we celebrated in Brazil. This YouTube video has clips of the Brooks goal celebration from around the USA. At 2:19, you can see my son celebrating on the big screen in Rio. Many lifelong USMNT fans were minted on that day.



We Are Going to Brazil (Right NOW!)
June 17, 2014, 10:14 am
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I can believe I’m finally sitting on a plane on my way to Brazil. We’ve been planning this trip for so many years, but in the rush to finish “Passionate Soccer Love” and get it published and into the world, I lost track of time and suddenly, the World Cup is here with all the emotion it brings with it. This will be my sixth men’s World Cup traveling with my husband, the third with our daughter (if you count her “obstructed view” seat in Korea) and my son’s first World Cup.

                Many people have asked how we can take kids to the World Cup either because of the expense, safety concerns, or just the hassle of traveling with children multiplied by the World Cup. The thing is, having a three and a half year old with us in Germany made that trip so much more than if we’d gone by ourselves. Seeing her wonderment at a foreign country was an experience I’ll never forget, even if she’s forgotten many of the trip details.

                So here we go…with our 11 year old and 6 year old to the world’s greatest sporting event. Wish us luck. 



Last Minute Travel Tips for Brazil
I’m still working on my rewards and thank yous for all the love and support I got for my book on Kickstarter, but in short, I was amazed at the generosity people showed, not just funding my project, but making it happen on May 28th was especially wonderful. My book is now for sale in the real world, on Goodreads, Amazon, and a hundred other wonderful places. Please go ask for “Passionate Soccer Love” at your local bookstore, or at Beaverdale Books if you’re in central Iowa, or you can order paperback, hardcover, or e-book direct from the publisher at this link.
I wanted to post my travel group’s tips for Brazil to share as another thank you for all the book love. Thanks to Kaela of Local Kitchen for compiling most of this list.
COMMUNICATION
Download Viber and/or WhatsApp. If you rent a phone or get a new SIM card down there, make sure to announce yourself by text before you call someone: I, for one, don’t pick up unrecognized numbers, especially if doing so is going to cost me a fortune.
LANGUAGE
In my dealings with the locals over the past couple of months, I’ve found that very few people speak any English. If you haven’t already done so, pick up a Portuguese phrase book, or spend an hour or two on Babbel or Duolingo, just to get a few basics. If you have any kind of complicated situation – like say, you need to go from the airport to Pipa with a stop at a random shopping mall for FIFA tickets in between – I recommend that you type clear and simple directions into Google Translate, then print out the instructions in Portuguese and simply hand them over to your driver, hotel clerk, tour operator, etc.
HEALTH
For any prescription meds, it’s a good idea to snap a picture of your prescription details in case of lost/stolen bags (email to yourself to a web-based email). For OTC stuff, I recommend bringing [I, Tanya, second this recommendation…having pantomimed symptoms in several countries]:
-ibuprofen (not only for the standard reasons, but it can also stop a sunburn in its tracks)
-Benadryl and/or Claritin (if you are subject to seasonal allergies)
-band-aids & travel Neosporin (everything grows in the jungle: infection is a serious concern)
-moleskin or similar if you are prone to blisters (we’ll be doing a lot of walking)
-cough drops (singing, people. singing. I always forget them and wish that I hadn’t.)
-Immodium
-Tums
-Breathe Right strips (for snorers) + earplugs (for the rest of us)
-sunblock + bug spray (I’m bringing tiny bottles of each and will replenish down there)
-Yellow Fever vaccination card (you don’t need it, unle.ss things change…so bring it).
Don’t underestimate equatorial sun. Even the natives stay out of the sun mid-day. For Northern moles like ourselves, it’s going to take some adjustment. No heat stroke or 3rd-degree sunburns, please. [Also beware foreign drinking. Don’t assume drinks have the same alcohol content you’re used to, and know you’ll get drunk faster in the heat.]
PACKING
Two words: carry. on.
You don’t need half of the stuff you toss into a bag. You probably don’t need a third of it. Pack light: no one is going to want to wait for your giant suitcase to come through baggage claim, especially after we’ve been living out of a tiny 20-inch suitcase for a week or two. But seriously: do you actually trust the brand-spanking-new Natal airport not to lose your luggage? That the 4-times-normal flight volume in Brazil is not going to result in a high proportion of screw-ups? That you’ll ever see that luggage again once it disappears? Pack light. You’ll thank me later. Whatever you may wish you had brought can be bought there. Souvenirs! [I talked with my contact in Brazil tonight, you can pick up a duffel bag in Brazil for less than $50, so if you buy stuff down there, you can pick up an extra bag to bring it home.]
Essentials: other than game-day attire and the hot weather basics, I consider a long-sleeve shirt (lightweight UPF 30 is ideal) for sun + bug protection, a single pair of long pants (same reasons), and a shade/rain hat to be the only real “essentials.” It’s probably going to rain every day  –  for maybe an hour every afternoon – probably more in Manaus. So a light raincoat is a good idea. Comfortable shoes: you never remember how much walking, standing, jumping, running, and all around foot abuse happens on one of these trips until you’re in the middle of it, wishing you had brought your favorite sneakers. Bring them. And a pair of sandals/flip flops. And that’s it.
SAFETY
For those of you who didn’t see it on Facebook, I have a friend who is married to a Brazilian and they head back at least once a year to visit family. I asked her about the safety situation – this is what she had to say.
“Rio and Sao Paulo can be pretty dangerous. We stay on the beaten path and don’t wander too far off. I’ve been there 7 times and have never had any problems. I have seen people get jumped for their bikes in Belo Horizante. Normal precautions. Do not show your wealth. I have been told keep some “mugger’s” money in your pocket. So if you get mugged they don’t get mad. Do not carry a lot of cash. The ATMs close normally around 10 pm. for safety. There are some 24 hour ATMs but they come with a big charge. If you go to a bank do not take the candy because the candy wrappers tell people that you were just at the bank. Do not walk around by yourself late at night. During the day you should be ok and in the tourist areas you should be ok. It’s really only when you go away from them you have problems. Stay away from favelas (ghettos). Ignore people when they ask for change. Even the young kids – they can be setting you up. There will be a heavy police presence and the national army! I think just being a smart traveler is the most important thing.
The more serious crimes happen in the big cities. There have been hold ups at stop lights but this is not the norm. Again, don’t play the wealthy tourist!
The driving in Brazil is CRAZY! Between cars, overloaded trucks, motorcycles, bikes, horse and carts, and people walking on the same highways it can be an interesting excursion. It really is pretty funny! Brazilians are extremely aggressive drivers. They pass going up and down the sides of mountains crossing into the opposite lanes and will not move over to avoid a crash. You have to be a defensive but yet aggressive driver always looking for your escape path. But that being said it really is fun to drive in Brazil because of the mountains and the curves. That’s why they are always amongst the world leaders for formula 1 racing!
I have found that most Brazilians are extremely welcoming and gracious. They try to speak English. They like americans. I have not been to Natal, Recife, or Manaus. I’ve heard that Natal and Recife are beautiful.
Alex says be more concerned with the mosquitos since they carry dengue, malaria. Mosquito spray is more important (especially closer to the amazon) than a gun!”
So don’t be foolish. Leave the bling at home. Try not to carry too much cash at once, and carry it in separate bundles – in a pocket, in your wallet, tucked into your bag, etc. Don’t park a car with any visible stuff in it that might tempt a thief. Look grubby & poor: that shouldn’t be tough for us. 🙂
One thing I always do is photocopy my passport (+ visa page) and the front & back of credit cards, driver’s license, health insurance card, etc. Make two copies and stash them in two different spots that are not my wallet. My wallet was stolen in France ’98: trust me, the photocopying is a very minor pain in the ass compared to trying to cancel all of your credit cards on the fly without having any of the phone or account numbers. You could also simply snap pictures with your phone and email the files to a web-based email that you can access anywhere.
[Tanya: I also recommend taking photos of your World Cup tickets as soon as they are in your hands. Our tickets were stolen in ’98, and the first thing the police wanted to know was our section, row, and seat number.]
Emergency Numbers in Brazil
National Emergency Services Telephone
Medical Emergency (ambulância) Tel: 192
Fire Service (Corpo de Bombeiros) Tel: 193
Federal Police (Polícia Federal) Tel: 194
Website
Federal Highway Police (Polícia Rodoviária Federal) Tel: 191
State Highway Police (Polícia Rodoviária do Estado) Tel: 198
São Paulo Civil Police (Polícia Civil do Estado de São Paulo) Tel: 197
Website
São Paulo Military Police (Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo) Tel: 190
Website
Rio de Janeiro Civil Police (Polícia Civil do Estado de Rio de Janiero) Tel: 197
Website
Rio de Janeiro Military Police (Polícia Militar do Estado de Rio de Janiero) Tel: 190
Website
Sea Rescue (Salvamento Marítimo) Tel: (21) 2104 6119
email
Website

 

You can add your travel tips in the comments. Please go buy my book and enjoy reading it between matches, and thanks for all the support bringing it to fruition! Safe travels to everyone following their teams in Brazil this Summer, especially all you Yanks!



Calling All American Outlaws! Please Help Spread the “Passionate Soccer Love” Word!

Fellow American Outlaws,

I am releasing a book about supporter culture in the U.S. at the night before the June 1 Send Off match, and I’m asking for your help getting the word out about it. In return, I have a new tool to help grow your chapter. I wrote “Passionate Soccer Love” as a memoir of my love of US Soccer and the happiness I’ve found experiencing the explosion of growth in American supporter culture. I expected it to be well loved among soccer supporters (and it has been among my chapter members who got to read the preview). What I didn’t expect is the reaction among people with no connection to soccer. You don’t need to take my word for it. I’ve posted the feedback I’ve gotten so far on the book here.

Over the past three years, I’ve read chapters of my book in different writers groups and I worked with two editors who have no connection to soccer. Almost all of my non-soccer readers have started following soccer. My 70+ year old editor with no previous interest in soccer was discussing an article he’d read about Klinsmann’s 30 man roster. He said “I don’t even fully understand the words I’m saying, but I’m REALLY interested in this World Cup.” While I wrote the book to be readable to people who don’t know soccer, I didn’t expect it to have such a powerful effect on people.

Help me share my book and I’ll help your chapter spread the love of soccer. I need Kickstarter backers (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081588443/passionate-soccer-love-publishing-and-book-tour), you’ll need events after the World Cup to sustain the buzz created by the Cup. I have a couple ideas on how to make that happen:

Option 1: Have your chapter back one of the options to have me do an in-person or virtual book signing. I’ve lowered the prices on those events thanks to some private backing in an effort to make these events more reasonable.

Option 2: Share the Kickstarter with your chapter members and ask them to back the project with your chapter # tagged in the price. For instance, someone in my chapter (Des Moines #38) wanted to back at the $30 level, they would back for $30.38. I’ll do a virtual book signing for every chapter with at least 5 paper books copies backed. If you’d rather me come in person, we can work out an event for expenses only.

Option 3: You don’t need another event on your calendar, but you’re willing to share just for the good karma. Also very much appreciated.

Option 4: Reply with your better idea. I’m open to what you think works best for your chapter.

When the Kickstarter funds, I’ll do a drawing for a free signed copy among all chapters who participated as an extra thank you for your help getting the word out. I know the EASports event was great for our chapter for bringing in a whole new group of people, and I hope my book will allow having an event you can post at your local library or bookshop will do the same. If you need help writing the post or a tweet about the book, or if you have other questions, you can reach me at YourSocksHaveHoles at gmail.com.

 

Unite and Strengthen,

Tanya Keith

P.S. If you have a soccer team or other organization and you’d like to tailor an event like this for your group, please email me and we’ll get it set up!

P.P.S. Here’s a couple sample chapters for you to get you fired up

Sample Chapter 1

Sample Chapter 11



500 Days to 2014 World Cup in Brazil!
January 28, 2013, 11:23 pm
Filed under: FIFA, International Soccer, US Soccer | Tags:

image

FoxSoccer’s Facebook page posted this image with the announcement that the 2014 World Cup is 500 days away. Let’s just say we were more excited about this than the kids’ 100th day of school Friday. 500 DAYS!!



Luis Suárez is Wrecking My Marriage

Luis Suárez is causing trouble in my marriage. I realize there are many women who watch soccer based on which teams have the hottest players. I’m not one of those women. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a good hottie, but it’s not really a motivating factor in my passion for soccer.

However, there is a player that has finally come between my husband and I, and it is Mr. Suárez. You may know him better as that cheater from Uruguay  that handled the ball on the goal line, denying the goal by Ghana in the 90th minute.

Richard Whittall wrote an article that FIFA was considering extending the one game suspension Suárez received for his ejection to a tournament suspension. This article provoked quite the argument at our house, because in a house with 2 referees, that’s bound to happen eventually.

My position on referees has been long established: you have to suck up who you get, but my position on cheaters was battled out today. I think it’s that now I’m not just a referee, I’m a mom too, and cheaters really, really suck. I can’t stand them. The diving, the feigning injury, even the German goalkeeper pretending that the ball wasn’t in the net when he knew it was against England…all unacceptable. But the handball on the goal line is cheating at it’s worst form. Just ask any American that’s been a fan since before 2002, it is an awful way to leave a World Cup.

My husband’s position is that the referee made the right call (red card and PK in favor of Ghana) and that it’s Ghana’s problem that they didn’t capitalize on the penalty kick. And yes, they should have. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s cheating that affected the outcome of the game. I’m happy that at least in this case, the referee got the call right, but don’t you feel cheated that Ghana’s going home? I know most of South Africa does. There’s no fairness in the result of that game.

So frankly, I don’t care that justice was served in the eyes of FIFA. It’s a cheap way to go home, and I’d be happier if Luis Suárez was going home on the same plane as Ghana (now THERE’S some justice!) Since that won’t happen, I’ll pray to the gods of soccer justice, the same gods that graced Landon Donovan in extra time for the US, sending us through in spite of being dealt some lame referee luck. Netherlands: Send Uruguay home on July 6! Maybe then I’ll feel like speaking to my husband again.

Zulu falls under the Bantu family of languages and is one of eleven
official languages of South Africa. Zulu is the language of the Zulu people and is spoken by
approximately ten million people. About 24% of the South African
population speaks Zulu and over 50% of the population understands Zulu,
making it the most common language of South Africa.



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